What the Age of Digital Acceleration Looks Like for Agency Business – A Conversation with APAC MD, Richard Brosgill

March 16, 2021

As a society, we are in the midst of a global digital acceleration, as brands rapidly develop their online businesses to meet changing consumer behaviors. The growing significance of digital revenue has accelerated brands’ investments in the technologies, products and talent that are positioned to help them evolve their businesses at just as fast a rate as consumer demands.

For some businesses, this has meant shifting the majority of marketing efforts to in-house teams, while others have increased their reliance on agencies for more strategic and consultative engagements, while setting them up to properly scale their media activation.

These market conditions and changing client dynamics have had profound implications on how we, as an agency, partner with clients moving forward and grow our own business. But we’ve met these changes with new, bold ways of thinking – adapting our processes, evolving our teams’ skillsets and setting ourselves up for the future of agency/brand relationships.

Our APAC Marketing Manager, Kelvin Lee, recently sat down with Richard Brosgill, ForwardPMX’s Managing Director of APAC & RU, to discuss recent success and changes we’re seeing across our agency, including how we’re shaping our fast-growing APAC business to meet client needs and continue to deliver on our mission – to help brands find the change that fuels growth.

Check out the conversation:

Kelvin Lee: What Digital Acceleration trends have you been seeing lately in APAC, and what implications do these have on ForwardPMX’s business?

Richard Brosgill: We’ve seen tremendous growth within the region, especially in Southeast Asia, where the digital landscape matured rapidly in just the past year, propelled by permanent shifts in consumer behaviors due to the pandemic. More brands have launched their own e-commerce stores to capture global audiences and expand their geographical reach.

As a result, we’re seeing more clients shift their digital marketing efforts in-house to take greater control of their own strategies. Though it may change the nature our relationship with our clients, we see this digital acceleration as an opportunity for our agency to position ourselves as our clients’ trusted business partners and become an extension of their in-house marketing teams.

Looking into 2021 and beyond, there are several industry changes that will permanently affect the digital ecosystem. We’ve made significant strides into future-proofing our business and have invested heavily into growing our talent in key areas like Technology, Data & Analytics and Consultancy to continue delivering quality work to our clients and to help them navigate and win in the ever-changing digital landscape.

KL: Why is ForwardPMX uniquely positioned to help brands grow their businesses digitally?

RB: The borderless internet makes anyone from anywhere instantly accessible, making it very tempting for brands to expand their prospecting in new geographical regions. The reality of this is much harder than it appears. Unlike western markets, APAC is a collection of distinct cultures and local technologies, which introduces a level of complexity to their digital behaviors. Regional strategies need to be adapted to suit the different landscape in each market to succeed. Navigating these nuances on a day-to-day basis is a far too demanding ask for in-house teams.

Our APAC business acts as a single unit, connecting resources from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Russia and our newest addition, Taiwan.

We pride ourselves in being a truly connected and fluid network of digital experts, capable of providing local consumer insights and expert advice on local media channels and platforms. This gives us a high degree of flexibility to connect clients with the right teams that can effectively run their campaigns for local audiences.

We’ve also expanded our service offerings in both organic and paid channels to provide greater support and guidance to clients to help them win in an increasingly competitive digital environment. We started as a humble performance agency but invested heavily into developing our SEO and Programmatic capabilities, providing clients with a one-stop shop solution for all their digital marketing needs.

KL: The removal of third-party cookies in 2022 changes the way we do digital marketing. What has ForwardPMX done to prepare for the impending shift.

RB: The moment that the tech giants announced the removal of third-party cookies, we immediately took action to prepare for a new world of digital marketing. We quickly recognized the critical role of first-party data and how it will soon become the life source of brands’ marketing efforts.

We invested and grew our Data, MarTech and Consultancy capabilities to help clients prepare for the impending industry shifts. While many brands may have a treasure trove of customer data, in-house teams often lack the resources and expertise to extract valuable insights that can inform campaign or business strategy. We’ve been working closely with clients to build first-party data strategies and providing them with guidance on developing the infrastructure and talent calibre needed to future-proof their business. These investments and changes have been made not only to serve clients better, but also to ensure the education and evolution of our own teams’ skillsets, since they are our clients’ and our business’ most important assets.

KL: What’s next for ForwardPMX?

RB: Despite the challenges of 2020, our forward thinking and flexible mentality, combined with our relentless commitment to fulfil our mission, allowed us to build the foundation for continued success. All of this was only possible thanks to our amazing talent who worked closely with in-house teams, providing strategic guidance and channel expertise to navigate the ever-changing digital ecosystem.

With several new wins and a rapidly growing pipeline in just the first few months of 2021, we are looking for strong strategic thinkers to join our team and support our regional work. As we strive to be the number one global data and technology services provider, we will continue to invest in areas of MarTech, Data Analytics, Technology and Channel Activation, becoming a trusted partner in preparing for the digital future.

Explore our open positions here and join our APAC ForwardPMX team.

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